Archive for December 18th, 2008

by jhwygirl

Otis, an adorable beagle mix – looking a little on the active senior-citizen side – got caught in two traps on Lost Horse Road last week. The traps were 30 feet from the road.

Lost Horse Road is located south of Hamilton, and heads eastward into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.

His owner, fortunately, was able to free him, but not without panic and several hours in the cold. Considering the severely low temperatures we’ve been experiencing, Otis and his owner are tremendously lucky.

Imagine the torture of an animal – any animal – as it lay caught in one of these traps. Dying, freezing to death. I’m not an overly religious person, but I can not imagine that our Creator would be OK with his creatures treated this way in the name of sport. There was a time and a place and a necessity for trapping. But those days are long past.

Footloose Montana is a local organization that has taken up the cause of educating the public about the dangers of trapping. They are also working to seek legislative and regulatory changes – and recently saw some minor successes late this summer when the FWP Board of Commissioners made some regulatory concessions with regards to setbacks for traps and eliminating trapping from a few high public use areas.

Footloose is still looking for donations to keep a weekly ad running that lists locations of these traps so that pet-owning recreationists know where to be extra cautious. Consider a small donation, as it only takes $80 a week to keep the ad running.

Here is a map of known locations of traps. Some locations:

Gold Creek north of Milltown
The Harris Ranch hunting access site near Victor (really? These guys are so lazy that they just place traps at hunting access sites?)
Nine Mile Creek has seen numerous traps (with two black labs caught in some recently)
Bass Creek
Butler Loop area of Nine Mile

There are so many problems, as I see it, with trapping. One easily cited reason is the fact that these traps easily trap non-target species. They can be bald eagles, the elusive wolverine, or lynx. A trapper isn’t even obligated to report it. Three eagles (two bald, one golden) have been caught in illegal traps in the Clinton area in the last two years.

This past fall I came across a fawn who’s neck had been caught in a snare. The beautiful creature – still with its white spots – clearly had been lying there for more than a day. Death was very quick, but those snares are supposed to release larger animals. This one didn’t. It was set by a sheepherder (who I had passed on the way), to trap coyotes. His gun and three dogs – along with the corral he had his sheep in – apparently weren’t deterrent enough.

The snare was less than one mile from a dozen or more homes. Imagine walking your pet and hearing a yelp, and before you could get to him, he’s gone.

Be safe out there folks. Keep your loved ones close.

by jhwygirl

Actually, the money arrived at the end of November, but I’ve been waiting to see if there would be any discussion on what the county was going to do with it. Apparently, the County Commissioners have stashed it away without much adieu.

PILT (payment in lieu of taxes) payments from the Department of the Interior had been suspended, with what everyone had thought were the last payments disbursed at the beginning of the year. The long story on it, actually, is that that last payment was a rider on a bill at the end of 2007 that eeked out that one last payment.

Until the Farm Bill this past May. Until Montana’s Senator Max Baucus made sure of it. Now the payments are reinstated at the full-funded level of years past.

Rehburg has voted against funding this program. Max Baucus has always supported it.

Missoula County’s take is $423,910.

Some other counties:
Ravalli: $882,221
Gallatin: $576,448
Lewis & Clark: $837,440
Mineral: $77,625
Granite: $85,036
Powell: $253,091
Beaverhead: $329,458
Deerlodge: $174,290
Silverbow: $184,907

For information on PILT payments, check out this website.

by jhwygirl

Montana District Judge Thomas C. Honzel (disclosure: I’m a fan) issued an opinion today which threw out a water permit issued to a coal-bed methane producer.

Honzel said the state permit should not have been issued because it appropriated ground water, and apparently the permit that was issued didn’t even recognize that someone pulling water up from the ground needed to have water rights.

Now, what can you even say about that? Really? Holy hell.

Again – what in the world goes on that we don’t hear about?

There’s not much to the article, and I’m searching to find the opinion. But ya’all know how I feel about water rights, right?

I’m wondering who the plaintiffs are in the case. It’s probably water rights holders, wouldn’t you think? From there, I think I’ll just wait for more criticism until I get my hands on the opinion.

Yi yi yi yi yi.

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